Sunday, 7 September 2014

Crossed !

Yesterday, we pulled into Port Medoc, France, after a peaceful and ENJOYABLE (!) 34-hour crossing from Bilbao.  We had just enough wind on a beam reach to give us 5 knots on a FLAT (!) sea, with a bright sun and warm temperatures, followed by a night with an almost-full moon and so many stars that it was difficult to identify individual constellations.  In the wee hours of the morning, the wind died down and since we needed to keep up our speed to enter into the Gironde estuary with the tide, we had to finish up with the motor.  We arrived in excellent condition and great spirits.   

Sunrise over Biscay after a beautiful night of sailing.

Port Medoc, France.
Before leaving, we hung out at the Real Club Nautico in Bilbao for a few days, enjoying the swanky swimming pool and club house.  (I was too intimidated to take photos...)  Before we knew it, a pretty good weather window opened up and we took it.  Of course, regular readers of this blog will know that there was much angst and analysis in the decision to go or not, but we’re slowly getting better at judging these things and so we decided not to regale you with the blow-by-blow decision making process this time, as fun as that is.  In the latest version of the weather data program Zygrib, there are two new functions (new to us, anyway) that give information about possible squalls and storms:  the convective available potential energy (CAPE) and the convective inhibition (CIN).  It took me awhile to understand how to interpret them and several of the forums we found on the web, frankly, got it backwards, which added to my confusion.  I’ll write a blog post about it another time.

And now, we are pinned down by distressingly beautiful weather (but without wind).  Port Medoc is situated just inside the Gironde estuary on the left bank surrounded  by hundreds of miles of bike paths through pine forests along a coast with long powdery beaches (including a few nude beaches we will sample later… not taking photos there, either.)  This is also one of the principle wine regions of France and we’re enjoying re-connecting with French food and drink after 3 months away.  It looks like we’ll be here a few more days, and we aren’t complaining one bit.  Feels like summer vacation !

One of the many beaches along the ocean side of Medoc.

The bike path, part of EuroVelo Route Number 1, running from Brittany to Portugal !